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Hancock County News

Right lane on Mt. Comfort ramp closed in Hancock County

The Indiana Department of Transportation contractor Milestone Contractors LP. to begin work on Mt. Comfort ramp on Saturday, August 30, from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

 

This work will close the right lane of the Mt. Comfort ramp to I-70 WB to permanently stabilize the embankment. 

 

Motorists should slow down, watch for stopped traffic and drive distraction-free through all work zones. All work is weather dependent and schedules are subject to change. 

Greenfield detectives investigate carjacking, gunshot

Detectives with the Greenfield Police Department are asking for the public’s help in finding who is responsible for stealing a car and reported gunshot.

 

Between 4:30 – 5 p.m. on Thursday a man ran from the scene of the reported car theft and called 911 from a nearby convenience store. Officers responded to the 1100 block of Walnut Street.

 

The victim told officers that his white 2021 Nissan Sentra was stolen by three men.  One of the men had a gun.  He explained he was able to get out of the car before it was taken.  Multiple people reported hearing a gunshot in the area.  No injuries were reported.

 

The car was recovered a short time later in the parking lot Bradford Builders, 119 North Broadway.

 

Greenfield Police are asking for anyone who lives in the 1100 block of Walnut Street and has security cameras to check them for activity involving a white, newer model Nissan Sentra on Thursday, July 28, between 4:40 pm – 4:55 p.m.  They are asking the same for anyone who lives near Bradford Builders.  The times police offer there are 4:50 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

 

Anyone with information should contact Detective Sergeant Chittum at 317-325-1210.

Greenfield elementary target of online threat; two juveniles questioned

Two juveniles are being questioned for an online threat against a Greenfield elementary school.

 

Greenfield Police say they were contacted by the FBI Monday about a post to a social media platform.  The threat was very specific and referenced a Greenfield-Central elementary. Two juveniles were quickly identified and were brought in for questioning.

 

The case remains under investigation at this time.  Findings will be turned over to the Hancock County Prosecutor's Office to determine if criminal charges will be filed.

I-70 EB lanes to cross over to I-70 WB lanes in Hancock County

The Indiana Department of Transportation to cross over I-70 EB lanes to I-70 WB lanes starting on or after Monday, July 18, at 9 p.m. through late November to complete a full replacement and added travel lanes to the median. 

 

Two lanes of I-70 EB will be maintained on the I-70 WB lanes from the 94 mm to the 101 mm. The Mt. Comfort EB exit ramp to be closed on Monday, July 25, and Tuesday, July 26, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. to set beams on County Rd. 700. The entrance ramps to I-70 EB to be closed for 60 days starting on or after Monday, July 18 at 9 p.m. 

Hancock Health and Hendricks Regional Health announced collaboration with a world healthcare leader, Mayo Clinic

Hancock Health, Hendricks Regional Health, and the Mayo Clinic announced on Wednesday,  that the two Indiana health systems have joined the Mayo Clinic Care Network. Members of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, a group of carefully vetted, independent health care organizations, have special access to Mayo Clinic's knowledge and expertise.

                       

Hancock Health and Hendricks Regional Health have a shared vision to provide central Indiana with excellent health care and keep communities healthy — all while remaining independent.

 

"Hancock Health has invested heavily in bringing medical expertise to east-central Indiana, creating attractive and convenient access points in our patients' hometowns — all while establishing solid bonds with our tertiary partners to ensure every level of care is within reach," says Steve Long, president and CEO of Hancock Health. "In the future, this relationship with Mayo Clinic will allow our care teams meaningful and timely access to some of the best medical specialists in the world. In my estimation, there is no better combination than a trusted local physician working in concert with their counterparts at Mayo Clinic to provide the very best care close to home."

 

"As Hendricks Regional Health joins forces with Mayo Clinic, we celebrate this milestone that builds upon a 60-year legacy and commitment to our community, and the relentless dedication of our nationally recognized physicians and associates," says Kevin Speer, J.D., president and CEO of Hendricks Regional Health. "It's the next step in preserving, growing and innovating local access to the most patient-focused, highest quality, specialized care possible. At a time when health care affordability has never been more important to Hoosiers, this collaboration is a shining example of how we are expanding world-class medicine in west-central Indiana at no additional cost for patients."

COVID-19 vaccines available for children under 5

The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) announced today that COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 6 months up to age 5 are now available at some Indiana providers, expanding the population eligible to be protected against the disease. Shipments will continue to arrive at participating locations this week.

 

IDOH has updated its map at www.ourshot.in.gov to show sites that have indicated they will offer the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for this age group. Both vaccines received authorization from the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week. Initial sites will include private healthcare providers, local health departments and some hospitals and pharmacies.

 

Vaccines are currently available on a walk-in basis at most locations, or parents can contact their child’s healthcare provider to schedule an appointment if the provider is offering the vaccine. Due to staggered vaccine delivery dates, parents are encouraged to contact the provider before arriving to ensure the age-appropriate dose is available. IDOH is working to update its online registration system so that appointments for this age group can be made via www.ourshot.in.gov as soon as possible.

 

Visit the Indiana Department of Health at www.Statehealth.in.gov for important health and safety information or follow us on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/StateHealthIN.

 

 

Volunteers sought for Hancock County's Go All In Day

The United Way of West Central Indiana Go All In Day is happening June 24 with hundreds of volunteers completing projects for nonprofits, grassroots organizations, and community groups throughout Central Indiana and you can help.

 

In Hancock County, volunteers are needed at te Boys and Girls Club of Hancock County and the Womens Resource Center.

 

Those interested in volunteering can learn more and sign up by clicking the direct links above or by visiting goallinday.com.  

 

United Way hosted its first Go All IN Day last year. More than 500 volunteers completed over 70 projects in Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Marion, Morgan and Putnam counties.  

Tuesday at the Hancock County Fair

Activities scheduled for Tuesday at the Hancock County Fair

 

Tuesday, June 21 Day Sponsor: NINESTAR CONNECT DAY

8am - 12pm - Sheep and Goat Arrival and Weigh-In

10am - Exhibit Hall Open

10am - Close Petting Zoo w/ Pony Rides

12pm - Mini 4-H Beef Show, 4-H Show Arena

2pm - 4-H Beef Show, 4-H Show Arena 5pm Carnival Opens

5pm - Commercial Vendors Open

6pm - 4-H Beef Show of Champions and Showmanship, 4-H Show Arena

7pm - 4-H Companion Pet Showmanship, 4-H West Arena

7pm - Youth Pedal Pull, 4-H Bowl Sponsored by: Farm Bureau Young Farmers

7pm - Entertainment at the Pioneer Building - Karaoke with Duke Blevins Sponsored By: Hancock County Tourism

Greenfield PD looking for Nicole Lewis

Police continue to ask via social media for the public's help to find a Greenfield woman.

 

Nicole Lewis was last in contact with her family on May 13.  She's described as a white female with blonde hair and blue eyes.  She's five feet two inches tall and weighs 174 pounds.

 

Anyone with information is asked to call Greenfield Police Detective Nathan Garner at 317-477-4400.

Hancock County's Heather Hill new president of the National Pork Board

Indiana pork producer Heather Hill was elected to serve as president of the National Pork Board (NPB) for the 2022-2023 term.

 

NPB’s 15 producer directors represent the 60,000 U.S. pig farmers who pay into the Pork Checkoff – a program funding research, promotion and education efforts for the benefit of the whole industry. 

 

“Real Pork is about real farmers, leading efforts to ensure the public understands our product is real nutritious and real sustainable,” explains Hill, who co-owns a 600-sow farrow-to-finish operation in Indiana with her husband and his parents. She is past-president of the Indiana Pork Board of Directors.

 

Hill’s family also grows corn, soybeans and wheat. “Along with my fellow volunteer leaders on the Board of Directors, we will deliver real results to help protect producer freedom to operate and promote continuity of business should a foreign animal disease, like African swine fever, challenge the US herd.”

 

In addition to Hill, other members include:

 

• Vice President Bob Ruth from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

• Treasurer Al Wulfekuhle from Quasqueton, Iowa

• Past President Gene Noem from Ames, Iowa

 

Hill is co-owner of Hill Farms in Greenfield, Indiana, a 600-sow farrow-to-finish operation, with her husband, Marc, and his parents. Hill Farms also grows corn, soybeans and wheat.

 

Heather is a former NPB board treasurer. She is also former president of the Indiana Pork Board and has been actively involved since 2009. She serves on the National FFA Career Development Sales Committee and is a leader for the local

4-H chapter.

 

Heather is an Operation Main Street speaker.

Stolen car investigation leads to pursuit and crash in Greenfield; suspect in critical condition

A police investigation that began in Anderson led to a vehicle pursuit in Greenfield, and ended with a single vehicle crash.

 

On Tuesday morning, Anderson Police were investigating a stolen vehicle that was located at a hotel in Anderson. When officers approached the occupied vehicle the male suspect allegedly became combative and physically resisted the officers. The suspect got in the stolen vehicle and fled the scene. An officer from the Anderson Police Department was injured in the incident, and was not able to pursue the vehicle with his police car. The officer's injuries are reported as minor. 

 

Information about the stolen vehicle was shared with the Indiana State Police and other agencies. About 7:20 am, Indiana State Police located the vehicle near Apple Street and Morristown Pike in Greenfield. Officers from the Greenfield Police Department and the Hancock County Sheriff's Office were also in the area and assisted. The suspect once again fled from police in the vehicle driving south on Morristown Pike.

 

The suspect failed to stop at a four-way stop on Morristown Pike at Davis Road. After crossing the intersection the suspect lost control of the vehicle and it left the road to the left where it struck and broke a utility pole.  It then collided with several trees.

 

The adult male driver had to be extricated from the vehicle by the Greenfield Fire Department and he was transported by ambulance to an Indianapolis hospital in critical condition. There were no other vehicles involved in the crash and no other injuries reported. 

 

As of this report, Indiana State Police Detectives are currently on scene as well as crash reconstructionists and the investigation is ongoing.  Morristown Pike is still closed south of Davis Road for further investigation and removal of the wreckage. 

 

 

Greenfield's Julia Wickard, state executive director of USDA FSA, honored by Purdue Ag Alumni Assoc.

Eight leaders from across the fields of agriculture were recognized with the Purdue Agricultural Alumni Association’s highest honor– the Certificate of Distinction –during the Ag Alumni Fish Fry in April.

 

The Certificate of Distinction is presented annually to professionals who have contributed to agriculture, forestry or natural resources through career accomplishments, organizational involvement, community service and other activities.

 

The following individuals were honored this year.

 

Julia Wickard, Greenfield, Indiana, is the current Indiana state executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency. This is Wickard’s second time filling this role, as she previously held the position from 2009-17, administering credit, disaster and safety net farm programs for agricultural producers and overseeing more than 345 employees in 75 field offices. 

 

In 2017, Wickard was the assistant commissioner at the Office of Program Support in the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. She was also the agricultural liaison. Wickard worked for U.S. and Indiana departments of agriculture, the Indiana Beef Cattle Association, and Indiana Farm Bureau Inc

 

Stephen W. Creech, Bloomington, Indiana, earned a bachelor’s degree in forestry and natural resources in 1974 from Purdue. A year later, he was a district forester with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and a volunteer firefighter in Greencastle. Part of an Indiana wildland fire crew since 1977, he’s been mobilized nationally to 14 states since 1987 and has responded to hurricanes, floods and 9/11.

 

Creech has served on a Type 1 national incident management team since 1996, was Indiana’s fire coordinator from 1978 to 2003, and is a two-time recipient of the Northeast Forest Fire Supervisors award. Creech was a primary force in establishing the Big Rivers Forest Fire Management Compact (Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, U.S. Forest Service), and is the current grants administrator. Working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, and Indiana University, he helped initiate a geographic information system analysis of the wildland-urban interface fire problem in 20 northeastern states.

 

For two decades, Creech was an adjunct instructor for FNR’s fire ecology class, and for years directed the department’s forestry summer practicum in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. He now heads Bloomington-based Wildfire Management and Training Specialists.

 

Byron Fagg, Salem, Indiana, has been Purdue Extension director and ANR educator in Washington County for 22 years. Fagg was instrumental in getting many programs started, with the Indiana Beef Evaluation Program, Bull Test Station, being a good example.

 

In 1983, Fagg started an annual breeding soundness evaluation (BSE) clinic in Washington County and then in six other counties. He determined that each bull identified as unable to breed cows cost the producer $10,000. Washington County producers have avoided more than $1 million in potential losses by identifying these bulls.

 

Fagg earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Purdue in animal sciences.

 

“Each day I strive to be like Bryon,” said Danielle Howell-Walker, a Purdue Extension Washington County educator, said. “To build relationships with farmers, to be a positive leader, to respond quickly and accurately with information for those who need Extension assistance, to provide practical and applicable information during education programs and to promote agriculture and our county in the best light possible.

 

Jules Janick, West Lafayette, Indiana, came to Purdue in 1951. He has contributed iconographic studies on Dioscorides, the Drake Manuscript, the Unicorn Tapestries, Caravaggio, Cotan, and the Raphael frescoes in the Villa Farnesina in Rome. He has written on the inter-relationship of horticulture and scholarship, art, ethics and the contributions of horticulture to human welfare. More recently, he has contributed to unraveling the Voynich codex.

 

His scholarly work in plants led to the release of 23 varieties of disease-resistant apples. He has authored, co-authored or edited 142 volumes of books, journals or proceedings, 63 book chapters and 222 refereed journal articles. His seminal text, Horticultural Science, first published in 1964, is translated into Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic and Hindi. Janick taught online for more than a decade, and two courses — History of Horticulture, and Tropical Horticulture — were taken by at least 6,000 students.

 

Max Judge, Lexington, Virginia, earned two degrees from Purdue and was a full professor at the university for 27 years. He developed and taught the first meat science course offered at Purdue. Thousands of Boilermakers have taken the course and others he developed. In 1974, he co-authored “Principles of Meat Science,” which, after updates, still is one of the most-used undergraduate meat science textbooks.

 

Judge’s research led to improved meat quality with reduced fat content in pork. He published the first report in the United States indicating a definite effect of growing environment on swine meat quality. Judge demonstrated technology to measure swine carcass lean content on the production line in pork harvest plants. The Lean Team, funded by the USDA and the Indiana Pork Producers Association, received the USDA’s Distinguished Service Award for Scientific Research in 1992. The American Meat Science Association’s highest honor, the R.C. Pollock Award, is another on a long list of national and international salutes.

 

Eileen Kladivko, West Lafayette, Indiana, the 2020-21 recipient of Purdue’s prestigious Corinne Alexander Spirit of the Land-Grant Mission Award, is “a generous scientist, still curious about new insights and applications,” said Jennifer Tank, a professor at the University of Notre Dame.

 

In 1982, Kladivko became the first female faculty member in Purdue’s Department of Agronomy.

 

Kladivko helped lead two significant changes in agriculture: the use of cover crops as a technique to reduce farm field nutrient losses and soil erosion, and the use of soil health to improve the understanding of soil systems management. Kladivko was instrumental in starting, funding and leading the Midwest Cover Crop Council and the Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative. More than 90,000 copies of the Cover Crop Pocket Guide that she authored are in circulation.

 

Kevin Still, Avon, Indiana, is the former general manager of Pulaski County Co-op. He was president and chief executive of Midland Co-op from 1989 to 2002 and engineered a series of mergers and consolidations that created Co-Alliance, which Still has led since 2002.

 

A billion-dollar corporation and one of the nation’s larger farmer-owned input supply cooperatives, Co-Alliance is based in Avon and has more than 1,000 employees and 80-plus locations in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. It deals in energy, agronomy, grain marketing and swine/animal nutrition.

 

“Early on, Kevin realized that farmer-owned cooperatives were going to need to adapt and grow if they were to remain competitive in a rapidly changing agricultural business environment,” Purdue Provost Jay Akridge said. “Change was essential if these farmer-owned businesses were to continue to provide the benefits to farmers that they had made possible for decades.

 

Michael A. Veenhuizen, Greenwood, Indiana, is president of Livestock Engineering Solutions Inc., earning a national reputation while providing site planning, design expertise and professional consultancy for all aspects of manure handling.

 

Malcom DeKryger, president and CEO of Belstra Milling Co. and Belstra Group Farms and a trustee of Purdue, said that in the more than two decades he has worked with Veenhuizen, his integrity about doing the right thing is one of the greatest compliments he could give.

 

“A livestock producer is faced with many challenges on an annual/seasonal/daily basis. Mike’s understanding of the crossroads between design, construction, operation and compliance prevented many problems and raised the professionalism of Indiana’s producers,” DeKryger said. “We always knew that if anyone questioned our design by Mike that he would stand alongside and defend our dreams with intelligence?and integrity.


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INDOT starts construction to add travel lane on I-70 in Hancock County

The Indiana Department of Transportation is starting construction to add a travel lane to I-70 in Hancock County.

This multi-construction season project will add a lane on I-70 from County Road 700 to State Road 9. This year, construction will focus on I-70 between CR 700 and Sugar Creek. 

Construction is scheduled to be complete in the fall of 2024. 

Restrictions and Closures

Lane closures:

  • During construction, two lanes will be maintained in each direction on I-70 for much of the project. 
  • Crews will be constructing crossovers to put traffic on one side of the interstate while construction happens on the other side. Crossovers are scheduled to begin in the middle of May.
  • There will be some nightly and weekend lane closures as needed and will be communicated separately.
  • CR 700 is CLOSED for a bridge replacement. It is scheduled to reopen in September. The detour for the closure is: CR 100 N to Mt. Comfort Rd to CR 300 N. 

Ramp Closures:

  • Mt. Comfort Rd to I-70 WB
    • Closed on or after May 9
    • Scheduled to reopen early July 

Greenfield man killed in Monday morning fire

A man was killed in an early Monday morning fire in Greenfield.

 

A Greenfield police officer discovered a building fire at 18 West Main.  Officer Kyle Vaughn was on routine patrol at 12:17 am when he saw smoke in the downtown area.  The smoke was coming from a second story window at 18.5 West Main.

 

The officer attempted to find an entrance to the apartment but was not able to get anyone’s attention.  Greenfield Fire Territory arrived on the scene within a few minutes and was able to attack the fire.  Inside the apartment they found an unconscious male suffering from severe injuries consistent with heat / fire exposure.    

 

The man was treated at the scene and then transported to Hancock Regional Hospital by paramedics from Sugar Creek Township Fire Department.  The man, identified as Keith Myran, 53, of Greenfield, died a short time later.  He is believed to be the only person in the apartment at the time of the fire.

 

Greenfield Fire Territory Fire Marshal Steve Kropacek is investigating the cause of the fire.  Nothing appears suspicious at this time.  Further investigation revealed that it appeared the battery had been removed from the smoke detector. 

 

Anyone with information related to the fire is encouraged to call Fire Marshall Kropacek at 317-325-1505.

 

Greenfield native serves as a member of U.S. Navy's submarine force

A Greenfield, Indiana, native is stationed at Naval Base Kitsap (NBK), homeport to west coast ballistic-missile and guided-missile submarines.

 

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Whitley


Petty Officer 1st Class James Welling joined the Navy for the opportunities it provides. Today, Welling serves as a fire control technician.

“Joining the Navy was an opportunity for a change and a way to enhance my life in a positive way,” said Welling.

Welling attended Greenfield Central High School and graduated in 2005. Today, Welling uses skills and values similar to those found in Greenfield to succeed in the Navy.

“One of the big takeaways from growing up in a small town, is the sense of community and the ability to build strong relationships where you can rely on your neighbor,” said Welling.

These lessons have helped Welling while serving at Trident Training Facility.

Known as America’s “Apex Predators!,” the Navy’s submarine force operates a large fleet of technically-advanced vessels. These submarines are capable of conducting rapid defensive and offensive operations around the world, in furtherance of U.S. national security.

There are three basic types of submarines: fast-attack submarines (SSN), ballistic-missile submarines (SSBN) and guided-missile submarines (SSGN).

Fast-attack submarines are designed to hunt down and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; strike targets ashore with cruise missiles; carry and deliver Navy SEALs; conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions; and engage in mine warfare. The Virginia-class SSN is the most advanced submarine in the world today. It combines stealth and payload capability to meet Combatant Commanders’ demands in this era of strategic competition.

The Navy's ballistic-missile submarines, often referred to as "boomers," serve as a strategic deterrent by providing an undetectable platform for submarine-launched ballistic missiles. SSBNs are designed specifically for stealth, extended patrols and the precise delivery of missiles. The Columbia-class SSBN will be the largest, most capable and most advanced submarine produced by the U.S. - replacing the current Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarines to ensure continuous sea-based strategic deterrence into the 2080s.

Guided-missile submarines provide the Navy with unprecedented strike and special operation mission capabilities from a stealthy, clandestine platform. Each SSGN is capable of carrying 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles, plus a complement of heavyweight torpedoes to be fired through four torpedo tubes.

Strategic deterrence is the nation’s ultimate insurance program, according to Navy officials. As a member of the submarine force, Welling is part of a rich 122-year history of the U.S. Navy’s most versatile weapons platform, capable of taking the fight to the enemy in the defense of America and its allies.

Serving in the Navy means Welling is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through underwater fiber optic, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.

A major component of that maritime security is homeported at Naval Submarine Base Bangor.

Strategic deterrence is the nation’s ultimate insurance program, and for decades Naval Submarine Base Bangor has been home to Ohio Class ballistic-missile submarines. Beginning in 2028, the new Columbia Class ballistic-missile submarines will arrive and provide continuous sea-based strategic deterrence into the 2080s.

Welling and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.

“My proudest Navy accomplishment is leading and mentoring junior sailors during my last deployment, while serving as a leading petty officer,” said Welling. “Some of the sailors have reached out to me and thanked me for getting them through that experience. It makes me proud knowing that I was able to help them through that time in their lives.”

As Welling and other sailors continue to train and perform the missions they are tasked with, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.

“Serving in the military has given my family and I a way to see the world,” added Welling. “I have been able to introduce our kids to a lot of different environments. We look at every homeport as an extended vacation. It forces you to get out on adventures and enjoy your time.”

50 pounds of suspected methamphetamine found in traffic stop

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in methamphetamine was found in an I-70 traffic stop.

 

Pro-Active Criminal Enforcement (PACE) is a multi-jurisdiction law enforcement criminal interdiction task force consisting of sheriff’s deputies from the Henry County Sheriff's Department and the Hancock County Sheriff's Department.

 

On Thursday at 11:00 am deputies with the PACE Team conducted a traffic stop of a 2022 Jeep Latitude along eastbound I-70 in Henry County for following too closely and speeding violations.  During the course of the traffic stop, while standing outside of vehicle speaking with driver, deputies observed a vacuum sealed package containing a small amount of marijuana in plain view, in the passenger compartment.

 

A probable cause search of the vehicle was conducted and deputies located a locked large red colored suitcase in the rear cargo area of the vehicle. Deputies then utilized a pry tool to open the suitcase after the driver refused to provide the combination. Deputies opened the suitcase and found what was later determined to be 50 vacuumed sealed packages each containing approximately one pound of suspected crystal methamphetamine. The current street value of the drugs is estimated to be in excess of $200,000.

 

Deputies then arrested without incident the driver of the vehicle, Courtney M. Kinard, 33, of Normal, IL on one count of Felony 2 dealing in methamphetamine and one count of possession of marijuana, a Class B misdemeanor.

 

Crider named 2021 Legislator of the Year for improving mental health

The Mental Health America of Indiana recently presented State Sen. Michael Crider (R-Greenfield) with its 2021 Legislator of the Year Award.

 

"Sen. Mike Crider has passed and prioritized numerous mental health bills during his tenure in the Indiana General Assembly," said Stephen C. McCaffrey, President and CEO of Mental Health America of Indiana. "These bills have been wide ranging, including the creation of the Indiana Behavioral Health Commission and the expansion of mental health parity. Behavioral health must be a state priority for policy reasons that are rational, financial, and clinical – but it truly makes a difference when you have an understanding that is personal, that you feel at your core. Sen. Crider feels that and we want him to know that his work has truly made a difference."

 

Crider received this award for his unwavering support and commitment in protecting and promoting legislation for the lives of Hoosiers who have been impacted by behavioral health issues.

 

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work on ways to improve the lives of those suffering from mental health challenges," Crider said. "I want to also express my appreciation for my fellow lawmakers who have come alongside me in my efforts to improve mental health outcomes for Hoosiers across our state. It has been a legislative priority of mine for many years and I am humbled and grateful for this recognition and support."

 

To learn more about bills Crider has authored and had passed into law, click here.

 

To learn more about Mental Health America of Indiana, click here.

INDOT to host public hearing on US 36 reconstruction project in Hancock County

The Indiana Department of Transportation is hosting a public hearing on a proposed road reconstruction project on U.S. 36 in Hancock County. 

 

The public hearing will take place on Wednesday, March 2 at the Mt Vernon School Corporation Administration Building (1806 W S.R. 324, Fortville, IN). The meeting will be from 6 to 8 p.m.  with a formal presentation beginning at 6:30 p.m.

 

The reconstruction is proposed along U.S. 36 from Garden Street to S.R. 13. The project also includes plans to modify the intersection at Maple Street and a plan to construct a new concrete paved multi?use path  along US 36 beginning at the northside of Garden Street and continuing along US 36 until it turns north at the intersection with SR 13. 

 

Construction is slated to start in the Summer of 2022. 

 

Members of the public are invited to come and give their comments during the formal public hearing. If you cannot attend the meeting, written comments will be accepted until Friday, March 18.

 

Written comments may be submitted prior to the public hearing and within the comment period to Lochmueller Group, Attn: Chris Kunkel, 3502 Woodview Trace, Suite 150, Indianapolis, IN 46268  or CKunkel@lochgroup.com.

 

Joe McGuinness to step down from INDOT; Former head of Greenfield District Mike Smith named new commissioner

Joe McGuinness has notified Gov. Eric J. Holcomb that he is stepping down from his role as the commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) after five years. Gov. Holcomb today named Mike Smith, an INDOT deputy commissioner and its chief financial officer, as the new commissioner, effective Feb. 14.

“From day one, Commissioner McGuinness harnessed his local government experience and the many resources at INDOT to find innovative ways to expedite construction projects and create safer work zones all while finishing projects on budget and ahead of schedule whenever possible,” Gov. Holcomb said. “Under his leadership, Indiana continues to offer a world-class infrastructure system, which remains a key engine to our economic growth and safety. Joe’s legacy is one Hoosiers can be proud of and will have long lasting positive impacts right here at the crossroads of America.”

McGuinness was appointed INDOT commissioner in 2017. Prior to serving as commissioner, McGuinness was mayor of Franklin for five years.

Under his leadership, INDOT has:

  • Expedited the completion of the new Interstate 69 from Evansville to Indianapolis by three years from 2027 to 2024
  • Helped cities, towns and counties modernize their transportation networks through the Community Crossings and Local Trax programs, which are key components of Next Level Roads. The matching fund initiatives have awarded more than $1 billion since 2016
  • Maintained and improved 29,000 lane miles of highways, more than 5,700 bridges, and partnered with railroads and public airports to deliver infrastructure that has consistently earned Indiana top national rankings
  • As Chair of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD), oversaw the largest investment in public transit in state history with the more than $944 million West Lake Corridor extension project and the more than $490 million double tracking of the South Shore service between Michigan City and Gary
  • Introduced the Greener Crossroads program, an aggressive, enhanced roadside management program to beautify and promote biodiversity in the more than 60,000 acres of medians and roadsides along Indiana’s highways
  • Partnered with construction companies and law enforcement to improve construction zone safety for motorists and workers by increasing work zone patrols and introducing technology solutions including queue protection trucks and advanced queue warning systems

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to help the state embark on transformational projects that will have an impact on Hoosiers and Hoosier businesses for generations to come,” McGuinness said. “While we’ve worked to deliver projects on time and on budget, we’ve looked ahead for the state, and I leave behind an agency that is at the forefront of partnerships to explore new technology. I thank Gov. Holcomb for the opportunity to serve and his leadership, which allowed INDOT to continue to move Indiana forward.”

McGuinness’ last day as commissioner is Feb. 11. He is departing to become CEO of a new local government infrastructure management consultant company.

Smith has been a deputy commissioner for INDOT since 2015, when he started overseeing the Greenfield district. He became chief operating officer in 2017 and was named chief financial officer in 2021.

“Mike brought experience from the fast-paced demands of managing business growth to INDOT, where he has been involved in day-to-day work in a district, developed comprehensive fleet management plans, invested taxpayer money in the best technologies, and developed biennium budgets to maintain and build Indiana’s infrastructure,” Gov. Holcomb said. “That breadth and depth of experience and determination will serve residents and businesses well as we continue making the best use of dollars to provide a top-rated infrastructure network for Hoosiers and our guests.”

Prior to joining INDOT, Smith was the district manager for Walmart, overseeing up to 10 stores in the Indianapolis area.

“I thank Commissioner McGuinness for his leadership during the last five years, and I’m honored that Gov. Holcomb is affording me the opportunity to continue INDOT’s progress. The team is as committed as ever to finding innovative ways to deliver NextLevel Roads, and I look forward to the work ahead.”

Smith earned his bachelor of science degree in business management from Indiana University.

Semi driver killed in I-70 accident

A semi driver was killed in a one-vehicle accident Wednesday on I-70.

 

Just after 3:30 pm emergency responders were called to the scene of a single vehicle crash on I-70 westbound near the 112 mile marker. The Greenfield Fire Department responded and located a semi-tractor trailer off the right side of the roadway in the ditch. The driver was unconscious and unresponsive.  Paramedics administered life saving efforts, however Scott Brandenburg, 54, of Clarksville, was pronounced deceased at the scene. A passenger, who was in the sleeper berth at the time suffered minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital. 

 

Investigators determined Brandenburg was driving westbound on I-70 when for unknown reasons he drove off the road to the left, across the median and into the eastbound lanes, then back across the grass median, across the westbound lanes and into the ditch on the right side of the road. 

 

The right lane of I-70 westbound was closed for nearly seven hours while the crash was investigated and the damaged semi was removed. The investigation is ongoing.

 

ISP was assisted by the Hancock County Sheriff's Office, the Hancock County Coroner, the Greenfield Fire Department and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. 

Stillinger Family Funeral Home grows with purchase of Hendryx Mortuary, Penny's Florist

Greenfield's Stillinger Family Funeral is expanding with the purchase of Hancock County's Hendryx Mortuary.  

 

The recent purchase of a Greenfield florist is also growing the Stilinger footprint.

 

Hendryx Mortuaries has been a longstanding business in the Hancock County community for decades. Now, David Stillinger, owner of Stillinger Family Funeral Home Pasco Chapel, has acquired the 134-year-old business and is eager to continue the Hendryx family legacy.

 

Stillinger will now be the owner of both the Hendryx New Palestine Chapel and the Cumberland Chapel, respectively.

 

 

Tom Hendryx, Hendryx’s previous owner and fourth-generation funeral director, is excited for the next chapter of his family’s business and believes Stillinger is the perfect fit.

 

“I had heard great things about David [Stillinger] and have seen what he has done since taking over the Pasco Chapel,” Hendryx said. “Seeing the success he has had, the fact that he is a local, small business owner that holds similar values and loves our community made him easily the best fit for taking over my family’s business.”

 

For Hendryx, Hendryx Mortuaries has been his whole life. He grew up in the business and joined the family to work in 1978 right after his college graduation. He is ready to back away from working and enjoy the next chapter in his life.

 

“Working with David has given me a peace of mind that the business is being placed into good hands,” Hendryx said. “I am excited for him to implement new technology and a fresh perspective while serving the families of this community.”

 

Stillinger took over the Pasco Chapel in Greenfield just over 20 years ago.

 

 

Stillinger and his team will provide their existing services at both the New Palestine and Cumberland Chapel locations, including full cremation and funeral options, pre-planning, pet services, grief therapy dogs, monument sales and more.

 

 

“Our team is ready to uphold the Hendryx family’s values while also instilling our existing beliefs to create a warm, caring atmosphere for the families we serve,” Stillinger said. “I look forward to helping more families in our amazing community during their most difficult time and I am thankful to do that while carrying on both the Stillinger and Hendryx Family legacies.”

 

Stillinger says his son is working with him now in the business.

 

 

The other recent addition has been the acquisition of Penny's Florist in Greenfield.

 

 

 

Silver Alert: Anyia Boyette, Greenfield

The Greenfield Police Department is investigating the disappearance of Anyia Boyette, an 18 year old black female, 5 feet 6 inches tall, 140 pounds, black hair with brown eyes, and was last seen wearing a t-shirt, pajama pants, and pink ugg boots.

 

Anyia is missing from Greenfield and was last seen on Thursday, January 6, 2022, at 8:30 pm. She is believed to be in extreme danger and may require medical assistance. 

 

If you have any information on Anyia Boyette, contact the Greenfield Police Department at 317-477-4400 or 911.

Silver Alert: Rosalee Thompson, Greenfield

The Greenfield Police Department is investigating the disappearance of Rosalee Thompson, a 68 year old white female, 5 feet 3 inches tall, 200 pounds, gray hair with brown eyes, last seen wearing a yellow shirt and khaki pants.

 

Rosalee is missing from Greenfield, and was last seen on Saturday, December 18, 2021 at 2:45 pm.

 

She is believed to be in extreme danger and may require medical assistance. 

Two cars stolen, one recovered from Greenfield's Dellen car dealership

Greenfield Police recovered one of two cars stolen from Dellen Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram early Wednesday morning.

 

An employee at a nearby Greenfield business told 911 they observed a vehicle pulling into the Dellen lot at 3:00 am and people got out looking at a vehicle.  A few moments later, the witness observed the vehicle’s lights come on and then three vehicles left the lot.

 

Stolen from the dealership were a black 2017 Dodge Charger Hellcat and an orange 2018 Dodge Charger Hellcat.  Those vehicles and the suspect vehicle left the lot and headed westbound on US 40.

 

Officers with the New Palestine and Cumberland police departments located the vehicles at US 40 and Mt. Comfort Road.  All three vehicles went north on Mt. Comfort Road and a pursuit began that ended a few minutes later.

 

The 2018 Dodge Charger was later recovered by Indianapolis Police.  It had been abandoned.

 

Greenfield Police say similar thefts of vehicles have been occurring in surrounding jurisdictions. 

 

No suspects have been identified or located as of this report.

 

Traffic violation leads State Police to several pounds of Fentanyl

A traffic stop for following too closely led troopers to a major drug arrest.

An Indiana State Trooper noticed a Chevrolet passenger car following another vehicle too closely in the center lane of I-70 near Greenfield. The trooper pulled the vehicle over and identified the driver. Subsequent interaction with the driver and a search of the vehicle led to the discovery of 15.8 pounds of what are believed to be Fentanyl laced pills and 4.4 pounds of pure Fentanyl hidden under the rear passenger seat. 

Felix Becerra Aguilera, 39, of California was the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle.  He was arrested on preliminary drug charges and transported to the Hancock County Jail. 

The Hancock County Prosecutor's Office filed the following charges:

  • Dealing in a Narcotic Drug Manufacture/Deliver/Finance - 10 or more grams - Level 2 Felony - I.C. 35-48-4-1(a)(2)
  • Possession of a Narcotic Drug - Level 3 Felony - I.C. 35-48-4-6(a)
  • Possession of Cocaine - Level 6 Felony - 35-48-4-6(a)

Becerra-Aguilera had his first court appearance Tuesday in Hancock Circuit Court where a judge granted the prosecutor's request for a $1,000,000 cash bond.

A pre-trial conference is set for December and a jury trial is set for March, 2022.

 

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